Best Laid Plans

Whether huge shifts or minor impediments, it happens to all of us: plannus interruptus. Something always comes up. You resolve to spend no more than X over the course of the next quarter, and you’re confronted with a surprise expense. You think you’ve anticipated every variable possible in order to make the family vacation as stress-free as possible and someone throws a monkey wrench. Somehow, for some reason, we are forced to adjust.


Most of the time, with good planning and a certain amount of discipline, we can build into our calculations sufficient flex that these bumps in the road are nothing more than that. But, what happens if you hit bump after bump after bump? What happens if that margin of error grows more narrow? How razor thin an edge can you tolerate? What can you lean on as you watch your immediate resources dwindle?


I’m not just talking about money, here. I’m also talking about emotional, psychological, and spiritual resources.


Things happen; they just do. And, inevitably, the things that happen can sometimes interfere with our own agendas and priorities or drain us of our store of patience. As someone who is working hard on curbing her impatient control freak tendencies, experiencing plannus interruptus presents significant challenges for me. I hate having my plans go awry—just hate it. Which is probably why I needed to have my entire life go awry because anything less would be insufficient incentive for me to revisit how I handle such challenges.


With more mundane matters, I remind myself that, most of the time, other people aren’t acting a specific way to annoy me—it’s not purposeful—they’re just doing whatever occurs to them to do. This mantra has been inordinately helpful and soothing to me over the years because, otherwise, I’d spend way more time shaking my fist at the skies. On occasion, there is the asshole who likes to change plans at the last minute simply for the control element it gives them–don’t get me started on these types–but more often than not, people aren’t trying to be Machiavellian. Learning enough to recognize that much of what happens to us is not personal is a key, key lesson. Kids, trust me, your life will be one thousand times better if you learn not to take life personally. As en experienced re-booter, if I can impart anything of value from my struggles it is this. Save yourself the grief.


Ok, so back to regrouping post irksome snafu. How often have you seen someone react to an impediment or complication in a manner completely disproportional to the issue at hand? They yell and complain or pout and withdraw and generally make things unpleasant for everyone around them. But there are others, too, who have a way of simply pausing, reorganizing, figuring a way around or through the problem, and continuing on their merry way—even if the outcome is not everything they had initially intended. And, don’t forget the fabulous unexpected outcome! This happens, too, but only for those who are resilient enough to continue, despite being thrown off their game.


In short, the purpose of this post is to sympathize with you that the best laid plans can and will get messed up, but how you adjust to this, how you think about it and perceive it makes a world of difference in the outcome.


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